Hey everyone and welcome! This is part one of a series I’m doing for the rest of October wherein I recommend spooky anime. It’s perfect for the Halloween season! Each post will contain a list of anime series with a category like “Popular/Classic,” “Bad Horror,” or “Light-Hearted Spooky-Themed.” I’ll include my notes with each show on the list. For today, we have ten violent/thriller/horror anime. Entries are in alphabetical order. Let’s Rant!
Ajin (Demi Human)
First up is Ajin, a Netflix anime thriller that makes up for strange 3D animation with a thrilling plot progression and a fairly interesting main character. Ajins are immortal humans; after “dying,” they come back to life perfectly healed. The governments of the world do not consider Ajins human, so they can be used in unethical experiments. Our main character Kei discovers he’s an Ajin after resurrecting from a violent bus crash. And so it begins! This anime is pretty exciting with a good share of thriller/horror moments. I think it’s a good choice for something to watch this Halloween season. It’s available on Netflix.
Related Post: Ajin Anime Review
In the nine years since its release, Another has become a staple horror anime. While it has its flaws and tropes, it’s genuinely well made and engaging. There is a cursed class in Yomiyama school, doomed to a calamity of violence every few years. In a way, Another is similar to a game of Among Us. The idea is that one student in the cursed class is already dead but continues to act alive and imitate a human perfectly. If the class can’t find out who the dead one is, they will all die in horrible ways as “the calamity” draws them closer to death. This anime also features a rather iconic cute girl main character with an eyepatch and a mysterious personality. Definitely check out Another! You can watch it on Crunchyroll.
Blood-C isn’t the most popular or well-respected item on today’s list, but I argue that it’s engaging and a good example of a horror anime. A cute, ditzy girl named Saya spends her days at a small school with friends or helping her father take care of the family shrine. At night, however, Saya takes her sword and hunts monsters called Elder Bairns that eat humans. Something clearly isn’t adding up here. Why are these monsters around in an otherwise “normal” town? Why is Saya so skilled with swordplay, acrobatics, and fighting in general? The truth will slowly unravel before Saya’s eyes as the Elder Bairns continue to attack her community. Blood-C is a good way to get your violence fix if that’s what you need. Some of the monsters are pretty spooky too!
This anime is currently available on Netflix (at least in the US) and Hulu. I don’t recommend the English Dub, since it’s awful.
Related Post: Blood-C Anime Review
Deadman Wonderland is a fantasy/superpower anime with a focus on horror and violence. It’s about a boy named Ganta who is framed for killing his classmates. Rather than be given an outright death sentence, Ganta is sent to a strange “prison” known as Deadman Wonderland. The horrors that await him there are nothing to sneeze at. In my opinion, Deadman Wonderland is too edgy and has shallow characters and story. However, I wanted to leave a variety of horror anime series in this list to appeal to people with various tastes. Let the bloody battles begin! This series can be viewed on Netflix (currently, in the US anyway) and on Funimation.
Related Post: Deadman Wonderland Anime Review
Akira had always been extremely soft-hearted, sweet, and timid. One day, his best friend Ryou, who had been overseas for a while, explained that the world is going to be overrun by monstrous Devils. Ryou’s idea is fight the Devils using a human/Devil hybrid– and he wants Akira to do the job. Possessed by a Devil, Akira harnesses its power and becomes a new man with superpowers: the Devilman. This show is great if you want a spooky, violent demon anime that is only ten episodes and very thrilling. Be aware that Devilman Crybaby is not suitable for children, containing loads of violence, nudity, and sexual themes.
You can watch Devilman Crybaby on Netflix.
Among dark and violent anime, Elfen Lied is a classic. I recommend this one for slightly older teens and adults, because in addition to gratuitous violence, it also contains nudity and some other adult thematic elements. In this world, there is a human-like species called Diclonius who have superhuman abilities and are born with the desire to kill and replace humankind. Lucy the Diclonius escapes from a facility where she was kept in the dark for many years. But on her way out, a bullet from a security sniper grazed her head, resulting in temporary memory loss and the worsening of Lucy’s split personality. When Lucy washes up on the beach and meets male main character Kohta, she seems cute, innocent, and dumb. She can’t even speak properly. Kohta takes her home, having no idea what is in store for him or the world if Lucy goes back to her real self. Elfen Lied is available on Crunchyroll (for 18+) and Hulu.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, known also as Higurashi When They Cry, refers to an entire anime unvierse/franchise that started in 2006. You may have seen the title on streaming websites since there were two new series in 2020 and 2021. Starting such a vast and complex franchise might be too daunting, in which case I recommend just watching the original 2006 Higurashi When They Cry. In order to avoid spoilers, I can’t say too much, but there is an ongoing mystery. It won’t be solved in the 2006 series alone, but this series is still a good watch for the Halloween season with its many violent and creepy scenes.
The basic plot is that a boy named Keiichi moves to a rural Japanese town in the 1980s. The village seems peaceful and happy, and Keiichi makes friends quickly. However, there’s much more going on than meets the eye. This little town is hiding some scary secrets. And it’s possible that Keiichi’s seemingly innocent friends are hiding things from him as well… Prepare for chaos.
Unfortunately, I could not find this series currently available on any large platform. You can still watch it on anime streaming websites, such as 9anime or animefreak, if desired. There is a fairly decent English Dub of the first season.
Kara no Kyoukai movies (Garden of Sinners movies)
Although it’s known in English as Garden of Sinners, the title actually translates to something like, “The Borderline of Emptiness.” There are seven movies each about 2 hours long, each with stunning art and animation. The story follows Shiki, a strange girl with supernatural fighting abilities. She deals with supernatural threats to her friends, such as spirits and malevolent mages. Garden of Sinners is a good spooky anime as most of the movies contain some genuinely creepy aspects. They are also quite psychological and heavy in nature, so don’t expect colorful battles alone. I love these movies half for the psychological bits and half because Shiki is so frickin’ badass and cool. Garden of Sinners can be viewed on VRV and Crunchyroll. Note that Crunchyroll also has the three OVA specials in addition to the seven movies.
Shiki (Corpse Demons)
Among the various vampire-themed anime series, only a select few are any good. One of those few, and my personal favorite, is Shiki. It’s about the people living in a rural mountain village as a strange “epidemic” breaks out among them. What is it that’s killing so many villagers? Village doctor Ozaki won’t rest until he finds out, even if the answer drives him mad. The cast of characters in this anime is really great. So are the psychological themes. It’s also good for October, having many creepy moments, vampiric corpse demons, and a chaotic, violent finale.
Shiki can be watched on Hulu. It doesn’t seem to be on Crunchyroll anymore, but as with all series on this list, you can watch it on underground streaming sites like 9anime.
Last on today’s list is Tokyo Ghoul, a well-known anime about a young college student (Kaneki) who becomes part ghoul. In this world, ghouls are a species that live alongside humans in the shadows, preying on their flesh when possible. Ghouls have powerful fighting appendages on their backs, which are called kagane and only manifest when the ghoul is in attack mode. Before that fateful night, Kaneki was a good student who loved reading and going to cafes with his best friend Hide. As he is rapidly thrown into the underground world of ghouls, how will Kaneki deal with the urge to eat human flesh? Tokyo Ghoul is available on Hulu, Funimation, and Crunchyroll.
Related Post: Tokyo Ghoul Anime Rant
Thanks for reading! Next time we will have a list of anime shows that I would consider either classics for the season or popular and spooky. See you next time.
Support Anime Rants!
Consider giving a small donation to Anime Rants via paypal. Thank you! 🙂
5 thoughts on “Spooky Anime Part 1: Violent/Thriller/Horror”
Slashers and the like are *really* not my thing, so I was surprised to see three anime I’ve seen on this list. (not nearly so surprised to see seven I’m not at all ever going to see) Even more, to see Shiki, one of my favorite anime, because, while the body count in that show is enormous, I keep thinking of it as something that treats horror and fear with a bit more subtlety. Or, at least, it does that at first. Then it slow-boils it up until it erupts in a strangely cathartic slaughter.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I love Shiki and Another though I’ve watched all the anime here. Shiki is just kind of the perfect blend of suspense, action and then ridiculous and over-the-top blood filled ending.
LikeLiked by 1 person